Saturday, December 4, 2010

Leaving Pullman, Washington

    Driving in snow requires finesse, clarity of mind, a firm grip on the wheel and hyper-vigilant attention. All qualities I usually attribute to others. I set off to retrieve my friend Joel from the Spokane airport as nightfall rapidly approached and discovered that guys who drive snow plows have fun verging on sadism. Those leering guys sprayed wet muddy snow in an arc like a Vegas fountain. I kept thinking they would slow down but they did not and it was like the whole van was suddenly immersed in a Coke Slurpee. The brown airborne muck from the road froze to the windshield causing the wipers to stall. Then they busted loose instantly forming an opaque ice sheet. Careening down the highway in a white out blizzard unaware if the road, the field or the oncoming cars on the two lane road would soon mesh uncomfortably with my world I started singing. And I don’t sing. It was probably an attempt to make screaming sound cool until I could slow to a stop. I got out shaking and used the top of my motion mug to scrape the window.
      After Joel bought me a gallon of anti-freezing stuff oncoming plows lost their power to make me sing. In the face of an advancing plow, before the wall of churlish frozen paste hit the window, I’d turn the wipers on high spraying miraculous blue liquid. Haaaaallll-lay-luYA, the outside world blurred for mere seconds before the window cleared and vision was crystal clear again. At that moment I wanted to call people and really talk about it, like how women talk about meeting a new guy. “Then Joel bought me some bright blue anti-freeze and like showed me how to drive in the snow, he’s so amazing, I’ve never met anyone like him. Oh God, I hope he calls.”
     Joel if you’re reading this, I’m sorry, the moment passed and I never made those calls. You are a really good friend. Thank you! I liked Pullman, but am not sorry to leave driving in the snow to others. I never did drive up the steep hill by your house. The memory of watching you do it without spinning the wheels or sliding into a snow bank will stay in my mind as if you had lifted the Empire State building off a bus of Mensa children saving every one of them. Oh, and thanks for the real ice scraper too.

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